Several school administrators – including Jim McKenna, president of the Suffolk School Superintendents Association – and Long Island Republican Assembly members are planning a rally in Huntington Monday to urge changes in how school aid is distributed.
Long Island representatives and educators have long complained that the region pays a disproportionate share of taxes compared to what it gets back in state aid.
The lineup of educators expected to attend includes leaders from both counties, among them McKenna, James March, president of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association, Gary Bixhorn, chief operating officer of Eastern Suffolk BOCES, Dr. David Bennardo, superintendent of the South Huntington school district, and the superintendents from Sachem and Connetquot.
The Assembly members include Dan Losquadro, R-Shoreham, who said last year that while the two percent tax cap and an increase in local aid were both indicators of help from Albany that Long Islanders deserve, more work still remains to be done.
“By capping property taxes and increasing state school aid, we have taken two out of the three necessary steps toward providing real relief to taxpayers while investing in Long Island’s students,” said Losquadro. “Now we need to eliminate unfunded mandates in order to reduce the burdens these cost-drivers place on school districts and property taxpayers.”
The campaign to change the aid system includes an online petition and a Youtube video.
The petition says that "under Gov. Cuomo’s budget, Long Island schools would only receive $66 per student in new aid, far below the statewide average of $119 and about half of the New York City average of $129 per student."
Also expected at the rally are Assembs. Andrew Raia, R-East Northport, Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Smithtown, Al Graf, R-Holbrook, Andrew Gabarino, R-Sayville, Joseph Saladino, R-Massapequa, Michael Montesano, R-Glen Head, Edward Ra, R-Franklin Square, and Brian Curran, R-Lynbrook.
The rally is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday at Whitman High School. Parents, PTA members and members of the South Huntington school board are also expected to attend.